Monthly Archives: October 2007

Looking for Comet Holmes

Here is how to find the exploding Comet Holmes, “the strangest comet to burst into the celestial scene in our lifetime” and which is supposed to be easy to see with your bare eyes  in the night sky according to Sky & Telescope magazine:

 More about Comet Holmes on spaceweather:

I could not find it last night!


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Filed under Astronomy

What would it look like to live One Year following the Bible Exactly?

The Year of Living Biblically

A.J Jacobs is signing his book, The Year of Living Biblically,  at The Chester County Book and Music Company in West Chester, PA. This is the guy who is on the cover of the Nov 2007 issue of Relevant Magazine! Getting your picture on the cover of Relevant is like getting your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stones in the 1970s or being Time’s Man of the Year in the 1950s! Relevant Magazine is a Christian Magazine that covers God, Life, and Progressive Culture.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
7:30 PM


Our good friend A.J. JACOBS visits to sign and discuss his funny and profound new book, THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY: ONE MAN’S HUMBLE QUEST TO FOLLOW THE BIBLE AS LITERALLY AS POSSIBLE, at 7:30 PM. This wonderfully entertaining tome documents the author’s quest to live one year in literal compliance with biblical rules, from being fruitful and multiplying to growing a beard and avoiding mixed-fiber clothing. Don’t miss this signing!


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Filed under authors, Bible, books, Christianity, mission, West Chester

Is the Airbus A380 safe?

The first commercial flight of the Airbus A380 happened with much fanfare:

What Was it like to fly on the A380? BBC News Oct 25

A380 superjumbo lands in Sydney, BBC News Oct 25, 2007

But I question the safety of this Superjumbo jet because of my whistle blowing friend Joe Mangan. He was in charge of a group of engineers who designed and built this plane. It way over-ran its budget and its schedule. The superjumbo ended up costing over $17 billion dollars.

Joe pointed out that the off-the-shelf TiTech microchips that control the air cabin pressure had not been thoroughly tested (which Mangan estimated would take two years)  with the outflow valves for the cabin pressurization system.  This system had been  specially designed and redesigned for this airplane.  He would not sign off on it. TTTech fired him, filed civil and criminal defamation suits, and secured a gag order which Mangan did not abide by because he thought the people could die on the plane if the problem wasn’t fixed. He ended up bankrupt and probably in jail in Vienna.  I see nothing on the web to inform me that these tests were ever done.

Read all about it here.

So how did the A380 get certified? Here is what I could find out in briefly searching the web. This is from the Air Accident Current Newsletter:

Comments: This is at least the tenth special condition issued by the FAA for the A380. Previous special conditions were issued in 2005 covering a variety of A380 safety issues, including emergency evacuation, structural durability during a crash landing, loads imparted by seized engine components, gust loads, and ground turning loads on taxiways. The prevalence of special conditions is an indicator of the degree to which formal certification standards have not kept pace with the march of technology.

The electrical equipment bays in the A380 are along both cabins and over the cockpit. Recall the fire over the forward cabin and cockpit on the Swissair MD-11 that crashed in Halifax in 1998 was not discovered by the crew until the fire burned through the ceiling in the cockpit.

These various electrical equipment bays in the A380 may warrant the installation of closed-circuit television to enable the flight crew to discriminate between real fires and false alarms. Such a closed-circuit infrared camera system was installed in Swissair’s surviving MD-11s following the Halifax accident.

The special conditions do not address the need for fire suppression, such as built-in extinguishing systems, or a means to provide the crew with access to the electrical equipment bays to apply hand-held fire extinguishers (which may require a port for the extinguisher, as opening the bay may enable the inrush of cabin air, which could fan the flame).

Note that the FAA issued a type certification for the A380 on December 14, 2006. Thus, it approved the design of the airplane at the same time it was still issuing special conditions regarding its design. (emphasis added)

Here is Joe blowing the whistle.

Here is my other post on Joe.


Filed under News, Technology, youtube

NASA Satellite Picture of California Fire Storm


It looks like the wind is blowing  hard to the west – toward San Diego and Los Angeles. Those clouds are plumes of  smoke that are being created by the fire and it is all pointed west into the Pacific Ocean. There are certainly a lot of red dots – particularly east of San Diego.

Here are the numbers – 12 large uncontained fires have burnt 335,000 acres.

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Woody Allen Interviews Billy Graham

part 1: 

part 2: 

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Filed under America, Bible, Christianity, mission, Popular Culture, Religion, strange, Uncategorized, youtube

Palestinian Christian Martyred

Rhami Khadar Ayyad, 32, the director of The Teacher’s Bookshop, the only Christian bookstore in the Gaza Strip, was publicly tortured and killed. Here is the AP article that says that Hamas has condemned the killing.

“This grave crime will not pass without punishment,” the ministry said in a statement.

Please pray for the 3200 Christians who live in Gaza and that the relations with the Gaza Muslims will stay “generally good” and that even more Palestinians would come to a knowledge of the truth of the Prince of Peace.

Here is another article about how Gaza Christians are Nervous after Killing of Bible Bookstore Operator.

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Filed under Christianity, Islam, Israel, Torture

Jim Wallis is speaking at Villanova, PA

Jim Wallis

On Friday, October 26 2007 at 7:30 at the Villanova Theology Institute’s God and Mammon Conference. This conference is free, but registration is required,  and open to the public. You can register hereHere is the line up for this Friday Afternoon and Evening:

Plenary: Bruce MalinaEvery Rich Person is a thief or heir to a thief: New Testament and Early Christian Perspectives on Wealth and Poverty

Keynote: Shane ClaiborneSimplicity, Discipline and Community: Strategy for Resisting the Lure of Mammon

Keynote: Jim WallisThe Many Guises of Greed


Jim Wallis is the founder and CEO of Sojourners and the author of God’s Politics: Why the Right gets it wrong and the Left doesn’t get it.

Shane Clairborne is the founding member of the Simple Way  in Philadelphia and author of The Irresistable Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical

Bruce Malina – is a scholar of NT times from Nebraska that I haven’t heard of before.

If anyone would like a ride from West Chester – please contact me or leave a comment.

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Filed under Bible, Christianity, West Chester